Background music: the thing that sets the mood, builds anticipation and defines whether a good episode can become an amazing episode.
With all the anime I’ve seen in the past few years I rarely ever get to hear one with a collection of BGM as compelling as the ones used in the adaption of Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece. Kouhei Tanaka and Shiroh Hamaguchi are, based on my lurking, the most well known individuals responsible for the BGM in One Piece.
Gomu Gomu Vs Goe Goe
The reason why I like One Piece’s BGM the best out of all the longer running series that I’ve seen is I hear more orchestrated music in the sound tracks and less seemingly computer generated sounds, if that was not clear enough lets put it this way: the music sounds like it has been composed by a live group of people and recorded that way instead of using a synthesizer. Anyway, when the anime first began in 1999 I suppose that was a more viable option than using prerecorded sound bytes.
An interesting feature about this BGM is that it has been incorporated into the episodes before in a way in which the characters can hear it, the best example being Minato Mura the bar music, or party music that plays on the piano, though it is more frequently used in a humorous situation such as when a silly argument happens or Luffy gets stuck in some bizarre predicament.
Most of the music used in the anime is original to it, the exceptions being some of Beethoven symphonies and other classical works played during important moments or added for humorous effect to an otherwise mundane situation. The most noteworthy examples would be the use of Dvorak’s “New World Symphony – 4th Movement” during the finale of Luffy vs Crocodile and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 during the Thriller Bark arc.http://www.hiyonomay.comuf.com/New%20World
New World Symphony – 4th Movement
The musical play list of One Piece TV series typically incorporates pieces that were made specifically for a movie of the series, often times a piece that is used during the final battle in a movie may be reused during the final battle in a story arc such as Luffy vs Lucchi finale. As another example many of movie 7’s sound tracks can be heard during the Enies Lobby arc for the first time in the TV series, typically any music piece used in any One Piece movie will be used in the TV series several months later.
One other interesting feature is character themes played during moments that highlight a certain main character; most of the Straw Hat crew has one or two pieces of music with the official theme music for that character played during his or her eye catch found before or after commercial breaks. Usually a character theme will be composed solely for that character, the exception so far ( that I know of) is Franky’s theme which was reused from Arabasta (albeit an infrequently used piece that was not used again until Franky came into the story).
Overall this is probably the only long series that I would ever rate the music 10/10 for a majority of the episodes, but if I were to average it there have it would drop to 9/10. The reasoning for such a high rating I attribute to how well the sound effects work with the music and the pacing of imagery. Sound is normally perfect for the emotional atmosphere of the moment from the footsteps to the breathing, if it is synced well with the music choices it can push an already great episode to legendary status amongst fans.
Ougon To Oden
Kaizoku-ou Ni Narunda!